I feel like a glutton for punishment, but I also can't just avoid the documentaries that depress me. That would leave me with a very limited amount of films to focus on in this column. And it's not my fault the non-fiction film world is so concentrated on doomsday subject matter lately. Maybe I shouldn't have seen Countdown to Zero in a theater on West 42nd Street, but how was I to know a movie about nuclear bombs would continually show satellite images of New York City in order to show the scope of destruction from such a weapon detonated in Times Square?

Would I have been better off watching a screener of Lucy Walker's acclaimed doc from my apartment, located in a part of Brooklyn just barely outside the blast circumference? No, I'm sure I would still have teared up when I did. Watching a montage of real routine city life presented along with that satellite image, I couldn't help but think of similar sequences in Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich movies just prior to the disaster-as-spectacle moments. Unlike with Armageddon or 2012, though, the suspense from Countdown to Zero is not relieved so quickly with effects-heavy destructoporn. Instead we're left wondering when a real disaster will happen. And from what I gather from the film, it will happen.
categories Columns, Cinematical